Letters to the editor week 45

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Boundary proposal is horrendous


I  had known for some time of the proposed boundary changes to Argyll and Bute but Martin Laing’s column At Random (The Oban Times, October 26) really brought it home to me how horrendous it would be.

When I first came to live in this place it was known as Argyllshire or Argyll. It was at the time a large enough county, one of the biggest in the UK.

Later, in 1983, the boundaries were changed and enlarged to take in Bute, an act of gerrymandering from the powers-that-be. Bute was already a good sized county in its own right. The two former counties were lumped together and renamed Argyll and Bute.

It was to become a challenge to any single MP to represent the whole place. It is not just the sheer land mass that poses problems and the journey times, it is also the sea between all the islands.

Ferries are often stopped in bad weather and the roads are not so good either, often being single-track, full of twists and turns, and full of pot holes. The railway only serves a small part of it.

As if this is not bad enough, Westminster is threatening to enlarge the boundary area still further to take in Lochaber. This will make an  already challenging job for any MP almost impossible.

I quite agree with Martin Laing that it is the bloated House of Lords that seriously needs to be slimmed down.

Sarah Swain-Nisbet,

Dalintart Drive, Oban.


Frightful waste of a good food resource

Has anyone given thought to the frightful amount of pumpkins going to waste every year purely for decoration and for a festival that has horror themes to promote?

In a time when austerity and food banks are the subject of society’s political concerns, and when other developing countries hardly have enough crops to feed their populace, surely it is a disgrace for our farmers to devote so much energy, land and expertise into growing pumpkins for the sole purpose of Hallowe’en. Some people may try to make pumpkin soup or a pumpkin pie, but most are made into ‘Jack-o’lanterns’ then discarded. Surely this is a sign of a decadent society.

I am not a fan of Hallowe’en for its devilish themes anyhow as the Bible warns not to have anything to do with the ‘works of darkness’ (Ephesians 5:11), but rather reprove them and ‘walk as children of light’. That is a healthier message for children – to hear about God rather than the devil. The Bible also talks about a time when people will call evil good and good evil.

Perhaps we are in such times with all the decorations in homes and shops to celebrate themes of darkness, evil, spells, witches, demons and the like, all forbidden by God in scripture. Even the word ‘wicked’ has changed into meaning good.

The saddest thing of all is hearing of even churches having Hallowe’en parties bringing dark themes into the house of God. God preserve us. No wonder Hallowe’en gives me the creeps.

Colin Nevin,

Bangor, County Down.


Up to 500 enthusiastic voice in massed choir


I refer to Angus MacPhail’s remarks about choral singing at the Mòd (The Oban Times, October 26).

He has very obviously never attended the Saturday morning massed choir concert, at which he will not only hear Sine Bhan but also Gleann Bhaile Chaoil and Cearcall a Chuan among others sung to simple but effective settings, by a choir of 400 to 500 enthusiastic voices.

Raibeart McCallum,


Plea to anglers to be more careful


While walking my dog on the Kilchoan Pier on Saturday morning, I came across this fish hook with meat attached and a small length of line attached just lying on the ground at the end of the pier.

I had seen two people fishing there the previous day. Those fishing must be asked to be more careful when they are doing so in areas that others use for leisure activities.

Luckily, my dog had been distracted by other smells and I reached the hook before he did or he may have got to it before me and then who know what the final outcome may have been – death or a large outlay of money for treatment.

To all those who fish, here and in other areas please be aware of what you are leaving lying around as the consequences for others could be devastating.

Ricky Clark,


Trying to trace family member


I am researching my family history and have come across the name Maria Nudds (maiden surname Peacock). I think she stays in Oban.

She is related to my husband’s family through her mother, Elizabeth Maxwell Pratt. If she is interested and would like to contact my by e-mail It would be much appreciated.

W McLauchlan,



Deeply concerned over toilet closures


I am deeply concerned and angered by the proposed public toilet closures across Islay. Clearly this idea has not been thought through as this would have a huge detrimental effect on Islay, our local residents and our growing tourist industry.

We as a council should be doing all that we can to encourage visitors to come to Argyll and Bute, and having well maintained and available public toilets are a large part of that.

Expecting local business to fill the gaps left by any potential closures is just not a suitable solution. Keep in mind many of our business are not open all hours and some are only open on a seasonal basis. Also, having their toilets open to the public may have an effect on their insurance costs.

I would implore the administration to heed the anger they are justifiably receiving from Ileachs now this proposal has gone out to consultation.

Councillor Alastair Redman,


Be prepared for judgement day

There are many people, sceptical of God, who foolishly think that the Lord’s Day, or Sunday, is not really a very important day and can do with it, and every other day, just as they like.
The story is told of a farmer, a proud atheist, who once wrote to the editor of a newspaper: ‘Sir, I have been trying an experiment. I have a field of corn which I ploughed on Sunday, I planted it on Sunday, I did the cultivating on Sunday, I gathered the crop on Sunday, and on Sunday I hauled it into my barn. And I find that I have more corn per acre than has been gathered by any of my neighbours during this October.’
The farmer’s sneer was obvious. By deliberately choosing to do all the work connected with his cornfield on the Lord’s Day, he had challenged God to express disapproval by giving him a disappointing result. Instead, he had reaped an exceptionally good crop.
The editor, however, of the newspaper drew attention to one very important overlooked fact in a footnote: ‘God does not always settle His accounts in October.’
No, as the Bible reminds us, God’s ‘reckoning day’ lies in the future. The scriptures give repeated testimony that a judgment day is coming when ‘God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil’ (Ecclesiastes 12:14). Every seeming injustice will then be set right.
How important it is to prepare for the last ‘settling day’ which is fast looming round the corner, that will bring history to a close. God tells us that He ‘hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness’ (Acts 17:31)  He also says: ‘Be ye ready.’
Donald J Morrison,
85 Old Edinburgh Road, Inverness.